Every strip-club DJ knows that picking songs and announcing names is the last thing on the list of "shit to do in order to get through the shift." When something doesn’t fall into the explicit realm of duties performed by a bartender or bouncer, it is often the responsibility of the on-duty DJ to step in. Drug and alcohol counseling. Relationship advice. Child-rearing. These phrases might as well accompany "announcing dancers and playing iTunes" on the craigslist ads, but for whatever reason, they don’t. Further, the same shit that makes someone a good club DJ doesn’t make someone a good strip club DJ. Anyone that’s spent a minute and a half matching a beat only to get the oh-so-common "I didn’t know that was two songs!" from a dancer knows exactly what I’m talking about.
We’re not DJs—we’re ringmasters. And we all have our specialties. Through the sheer amount of bodily fluids and alcohol that I’ve volunteered to clean up, I’ve earned the name DJ HazMatt alongside the reputation of being the go-to guy for anything that involves blood, semen, booze or a combination of the three. Although accepting my place as custodial disc jockey was an eventual and inevitable decision, I was never prepared to play surgeon.
Delilah was one of the few dancers at the "Bada Bing" that I trusted and for this reason, I never kept too close of an eye on her rack (either one). One particular evening, Delilah was displaying her newly acquired nipple piercing by way of fishnet top and something didn’t sit right. Naturally, I ignored my gut feeling and Mótley-Crúe’d my way blindly into a doomed evening, announcing sets and overplaying booty songs like normal.
Two minutes into the second song of one of Delilah’s sets, I notice that Delilah is playing with her titty and looking confused. This distracts me for a minute, but then I think, "Well, she’s not bleeding" and continue digging for the next Black Eyed Peas song to be forced upon a room full of aging cowboys, ignoring Delilah’s new obsession with her left tit. For a minute there, I was reminded of the surprised, "Oh, snap, I have boobs!" expression that porn stars often use immediately after removing their bra, figuring that Delilah was just mimicking what she’d seen on Pay-Per-View, although poorly and with an awkward expression.
Once again illustrating my ability to unintentionally jinx any situation, I noticed that Delilah was covered in something other than fishnetting: blood. Gushing from the middle of her titty and trickling down her arm, a red river of nipple plasma covered Delilah like body paint. The most disturbing part, however, was the fact that Delilah was still onstage, half-gyrating like a heroin addict grasping a bus-stop sign, looking at me with a glance that clearly read, "Hey, DJ, can you cut the song because I’m FUCKING BLEEDING?" but still silent nonetheless.
Cut to buffer.
Call up the next dancer.
Meet bloody stripper in dressing room.
It’s all so routine after a while.
Upon opening the dressing-room door with bandage in hand, not only do I notice that Carrie II could be cut strictly from the footage contained on the club’s surveillance tapes, but I quickly realize that Delilah is hesitant to remove her finger from her nipple area. Figuring that she was simply trying to stop the bleeding (the source of which was still unknown to me at this time), I offer up a Band-Aid.
"I’m going to need your help," Delilah says, calm as always.
"Putting my nipple back on," she replies.
Holding on by a hair-thin strip of flesh, Delilah’s nipple was positioned about a centimeter from an open boob (if you don’t know what an "open boob" is, consider yourself among the lucky ninety-nine percent of the population that shares your lack of knowledge on the subject). Continuing to manifest less stress and anxiety than Snoop Dogg, Delilah calmly lifted her hand to reveal what I can only describe as a miniature, skin-toned, half-open manhole cover. Re-swallowing my dinner, I positioned the Band-Aid’s cloth center onto the barely attached nipple and did my best to estimate where the thing should end up without using a microscope and tweezers (now that I think about it, my hands were filthy and I’d be surprised if the girl doesn’t still have bits of lint and hash underneath her skin).
After attaching the Band-Aid and briefly evaluating the sum of my life’s career choices, I resumed my regular duties as Pussy Auctioneer as if nothing had happened, but not without asking Delilah how her nipple had ended up detached.
"Oh, you know, it just caught on the fishnet when I tried to take it off. Shit happens."
Shit does indeed happen. I wish that every dancer shared Delilah’s level of calm professionalism, but I really don’t know how many more body parts I can reattach. Perhaps if Delilah had graduated from the School Of Scream And Yell About Everything, there would have been less blood.
Karma exists, though. A year after the nipple incident took place, I was looking for apartments. I responded to a room-for-rent ad, only to find out that a potential tenant had already applied and was planning on moving in. However, a brief discussion of employment and background information revealed that both myself and the renter worked in the adult-entertainment business and the woman renting out the room decided to meet up with me to see if I was a "better fit" than the other prospective tenant.
Not only was I a good fit, but so was the perfectly healed nipple of my future landlord.
Author’s correction: Last month’s article featuring a rant regarding stripper names ignored one very important variable. Props to Glynis and Angelo (Towne and Matador crew) for pointing out the obvious-but-forgotten: birth-given stripper names. When you name your daughter Porché, you might as well purchase diapers shaped like G-strings. Sympathy to Amber Mercedes if she’s reading this.